Daily news roundups

Hack on the D problems, City Islanders advance in USOC to face Union, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Defense was the main topic in John Hackworth’s weekly press conference, which was held via a conference call from California on Wednesday. Hackworth said,

There’s no way to sugarcoat it, it hasn’t been good. We are clearly struggling to find a backline that is executing and playing well, so it’s something we need to continue to work on. It’s unfortunate, from Sunday’s game, that you give up a goal on a set piece, just a simple marking problem in the second minute, and it literally changes everything you’re trying to do. Obviously we had some key guys make some bad mistakes on the next three goals.

Continuity has been an issue, from individual performances to lineup choices, with five different center back pairings have been tried in the past five weeks. Asked about the apparent regression in the level of play of several key players, Hackworth said, “It’s frustrating when you have guys that you depend on from year to year to really be the solid rocks on your team, and when those kinds of performances waver, it really makes it difficult. Without pointing to any individuals, we’ve had several of those mixed performances from guys that we depend on to be the solid performers game in and game out.”

So, are inconsistent performances related to the constantly changing lineups, or are the lineups related to inconsistent performances? Whatever the answer, Hackworth said of the revolving backline,

The reality is that it’s tough to balance right now. With each game and as we go through our training sessions, we’re going to try to find the best possible matchups for what we think we can be successful in the game going forward. That presents a whole set of problems for us. But the only way we can get through it is to have a game where our center backs and our defense and our collective team defending, just our willingness to compete, is solid all the way around. And that establishes it. Until that happens, we’re not in a position to say, “hey, this is what we’re doing and these are the guys that are doing it.”

Hackworth said that Austin Berry should be available for Saturday’s game against Chivas USA. “Austin has an ankle problem, that, we didn’t think it was serious but it’s one of those nagging kinds of sprains that literally just would bother him. (Last) Thursday and Friday, we found out he wasn’t going to be 100% for the weekend, so we held him out. We think he’s 100% now, so he should be available for this weekend.”

Hackworth said of Berry’s return, “I think it can definitely help, but to be real fair, whoever we’ve put at center back, our center-back pairings, it’s not like they’ve played well. So having Austin back is certainly a good option for us, but he will have to, like everybody else, prove that he is the best available choice on Saturday.”

Sheanon Williams said, “That is how it should be every week because everybody is fighting for a starting spot. I think competition is good, so if that is what needs to happen to get us motivated then that’s what needs to happen.”

Cristian Maidana will be available for Saturday after finishing his one-game suspension following the red card he received in the loss to New England. Sebastien Le Toux did not travel with the team to California as he recovers from a back injury.

Eight Union players are on the All-Star ballot: Zac MacMath, Ray Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Maurice Edu, Cristian Maidana, Vincent Nogueira, and Sebastien Le Toux. Click here to cast your vote.

Last Word on Sports says Hackworth should start Conor Casey.


Harrisburg City Islanders defeated Baltimore Bohemians 4-2 on the road in Wednesday evening’s US Open Cup third round game. Morgan Langley scored in the eighth minute before Jimmy McLaughlin added a goal from open play and another from the penalty spot to give the City Islanders a 3-0 halftime lead. Langley added another of his own in the 80th minute.Recaps from Harrisburg City Islanders and TheCup.us.

Harrisburg will now face the Union at PPL Park on Tuesday, June 17. Kickoff is at 7 pm. The fourth round game is free to all 2014 full season ticket holders.

If you’re wondering whether Union loanees McLaughlin, Cristhian Hernandez, Richie Marquez, and Pedro Ribeiro can play for Harrisburg against the Union, CSN Philly notes, “According to Open Cup rules, MLS-controlled players can suit up for an affiliate if they have played in multiple Open Cup tournament games for the affiliate club.” To my reading, that means only McLaughlin and Marquez can play against the Union since Hernandez and Ribeiro did not feature in Wednesday’s win, although I have not confirmed this. At the very least, the City Islanders confirmed via their Twitter account that McLaughlin is eligible to play for them.

The Special Olympics Unified Soccer Championship will take place on Friday from 9:30 am to 1:00 am at Thomas Edison High School. The Sons of Ben have a new partnership with Philly Unified Soccer and invite everyone who can attend to cheer on the players.

Penn’s Kalijah Terilli has been called called up for the US U-23 WNT camp at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Ca., that will take place June 7-14.

The La Salle women’s team has announced its 2014 schedule and the addition of six new players. Among them are Katherine Hennessey (Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood), Madison Bower (Millville, Pa./Millville Area High School), and Julia Rufe (Sellersville, Pa./Pennridge).

The Swarthmore men’s team helped out at the recent Soccer for Success Play Day at PPL Park.


Chivas USA lost 2-0 at home on Wednesday night to Portland. Union fans will be pleased to learn that Chivas USA defender Chris Burling will be suspended for Saturday’s match after receiving an 84th minute red card in the loss.

Eddie Johnson’s red card has been rescinded by the disciplinary committee’s independent review panel.

The New York Cosmos will host the New York Red Bulls in the fourth round of the US Open Cup on Saturday, June 14, at Hofstra University. The Cosmos defeated Brooklyn Italians 2-0 in Wednesday night’s third round cup tie.

The CONCACAF Champions League draw took place on Thursday. Representing MLS in the 2014-15 tournament are Kansas City, New York, DC, and Portland.

The Miami Herald reports, “Prominent architects and urban planners who worked with former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz’s administration have joined the opposition to building David Beckham’s Major League Soccer stadium on the downtown waterfront.”

A marine biologist in Miami says Beckham should replace the artificial reef that is in the former boat slip that would be filled up for the latest stadium proposal.

The Purchase Environmental Protective Association has filed a lawsuit to stop NYC FC from building a practice field at Manhattanville College. Westfair Online notes, “In the late 1990s, a professional-grade hockey rink at the campus at which the New York Rangers would have practiced was successfully blocked due to community opposition. The college’s hockey team was left without on-campus facilities as a result.”

Las Vegas Weekly wonders if Las Vegas is the right fir for an MLS team.

New USL PRO side Sacramento Republic are supporting a proposal to raise the sales tax in Sacramento County “with proceeds going to a new soccer stadium, the Sacramento Zoo, the American River Parkway Foundation and other causes.”


The league announced on Wednesday a deal with ESPN that will see the network broadcast nine NWSL games this year. Six games will be shown on ESPN2 and three will be streamed on ESPN3.


Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t worried about Jozy Altidore’s lack of scoring. “He loves to be in the middle with the national team. So I’m not worried at all. He will come through and he will start to score. And obviously, the sooner the better for every striker, but I’m very, very positive.” A Sunderland blogger thinks Altidore is “just a couple of morale-boosting goals away from being able to embark on a run to recall his Dutch successes.” Altodore has currently failed to score in 1,771 minutes of game time for Sunderland and the US.

At ASN, Jon Arnold on the impact Tuesday night’s subs made in the USMNT’s 2-0 win over Azerbaijan.

Also at ASN, Brian Sciaretta has five thoughts on the game.

Goal.com on what we learned from Tuesday’s win.

At Soccer America, Paul Kennedy on that diamond midfield.

Any chance the US has of getting out of their group — which, by the way, the boffins at Goldman Sachs say won’t happen — will be dependent on defeating Ghana in their opening game. In contrast to its two previous World Cup preparations, this year Ghana is very organized. Head coach Kwesi Appiah, who has praised his team’s unity and discipline ahead of Brazil, says, “We’ve learned from previous World Cups and have made sure everything has been put in place so they don’t have cause to complain.”

The Guardian has a video animation of Ghana’s World Cup history.

Goal.com reports that, in terms of ratings numbers, Liga MX is the most popular league in the US. How popular? “According to Univision, Liga MX matches on Univision average more viewers than the MLB regular season on ESPN and the NBA regular season on NBA TV…Univision’s broadcast of a regular season match between America and Veracruz outperformed all nine NCAA March Madness games on truTV and TNT for the week…the May 18 Liga MX final second leg on UniMas drew more viewers than every single NHL playoff game airing on NBC, NBCSN and CNBC in the 2014 playoffs to date.”

The Bolton News reports that a deal is in place that will see Tim Ream remain with the club through 2017.

Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has agreed to sell the Serie A club Cagliari to an unnamed US investment fund.


The AP reports, “As if Brazil didn’t have enough to deal with as the World Cup approaches, the worst drought in more than 80 years is hitting the country’s largest city just as it prepares for the tens of thousands of foreigners expected at the tournament opener.” Residents of some of Sao Paulo’s poorer neighborhoods believe the government is rationing water now so that it will not be in short supply when the city fills up with World Cup visitors.

At the Guardian, Marina Hyde writes, “[N]othing says major sporting event these days like the words “largest military operation in peacetime”. In fact, the only surprise is that Fifa and the International Olympic Committee have yet to trademark the phrase.”

SI has a piece on Pele that includes a look at why he isn’t as beloved in Brazil as he is in the rest of the world.

Stephen J. Hawking has some some advice on how England can win the World Cup. “I always saw Paddy Power as slightly anti-intellectual but by inviting me to be a pundit, they have proved me wrong. They recognized that as a theoretical physicist I’m marginally more qualified to make predictions than Paul the Octopus.”

The Hollywood Reporter phones in a list of soccer movies. Any list that doesn’t include La Gran Final (2006) isn’t trying hard enough. (It’s available on Netflix as “The Final Match.”)

Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer has died at the age of 85.


  1. Hackworth: “I forced a second division finnish striker to learn CB and after only a few weeks decided he was my starter next to a DMid converted CB. This decision meant he leapfrogged a former ROTY CB and a former promising young CB all because I am an idiot. When this didn’t work out – to the surprise of no one – I started rotating the pairing like mad and ruined any sort of chemistry or cohesiveness.

    Despite this, I will continue to play players out of position and ignore reason to get my pet projects into the line up.”

    • pretty good

    • Nice to hear Hackworth be honest about his own inept fleckless BS coaching. Nice try James. Hackworth is so lousy he doesn’t know how lousy he is! Great post!

    • Sounds pretty accurate, unfortunately… 🙁

    • DarthLos117 says:

      Berry is overrated and folks around here seem to be holding on to that ROTY award as if its dogma. He aint the same player
      Here are some observations I have made about his game during the limited time he has played (this is not to say that Wheeler has been better or a better choice):

      He reads the game slowly, very slow to react.
      He has shown limited ability in the air on both sides of the ball and lacks initiative. Looks hesitant, nervous and rushed when on the ball.
      Most importantly his reactions have been lazy, poor and awfully unsound.
      He has been directly responsible for at least two goals score against us. He has played 497 mins.

      • This is all true but … there is still a difference between a mediocre CB and a mediocre forward learning CB.

        You can take flaws or bad form from a player playing his NATURAL position. Maybe Berry will never live up to his hype, but for the love of god atleast HE IS A CENTERBACK.

        It’s just frustrating. I haven o issues with players being worse than I thought or in a bad run of form. but if that player is a striker learning CB on the fly – then why the hell is he in the lineup (free to make learning mistakes) to begin with!?!?

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Could well be. Could be we were all guilty of reading his press clippings too much and not watching enough of his actual play. But he looked fine for the Union before he got hurt.

      • DarthLos117 says:

        By “looked fine” do you mean good or great or just fine?
        He may just be fine.
        And I really hope it is an injury thing but not so sure he looked that great at Portland or against NE before he got hurt.
        Against SKC he (along with the other 6 defenders) looked positionally sound…but then NE happened and he (along with every other defeneder) look horrible.

      • Southside Johnny says:

        He looked pretty darn good playing against us last year.

      • DarthLos117 says:

        Exactly my original point.
        Conor Casey looked good last year too.

  2. John Ling says:

    I want the same back four to start against Chivas and Vancouver. I don’t care if they go out and suck more than a Hoover on Saturday. Same four. That four needs to include Ray Gaddis; it probably needs to include Amobi Okugo. My four, right to left, would be Gaddis, Okugo, Berry, Williams. But whatever it is, let the same four play these last two games before the break.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      That’s a great idea until one of them gets a red card Saturday night…

      • John Ling says:

        Sure, that could happen. Then you adjust the plan. But at this point, I think people need to start playing next to the same person so they can build chemistry.
        Really, I’m not sure it can get too much worse than the revolving door method we’ve been using.

    • Fabinho,Okugo,White,Gaddis – Williams should definitely sit. Give white a chance or maybe he’s absolutely horrible I have no idea.

      • John Ling says:

        Sure. I’m OK with that too. Barring injury or suspension, I just want the same 4 both games, and give players a chance to build a working relationsip.

      • agreed

  3. I definitely need to use the word ‘boffin’ more.

  4. John Ling says:

    I just read the Last Word on Sports piece. What have I learned? They’re called the Last Word because after they talk everybody walks away shaking their head and mumbling…

    • Southside Johnny says:

      I am sure some on here will be mumbling about him writing, “Wenger just isn’t as good as McInerney.”

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    It’s a shame that the Harrisburg loanees aren’t eligble to play for the Union in the Open Cup game. It would have been nice to give them a chance to play with some of the Union regulars rather than against them.
    On the other hand, I’d say it’s probably even money that one of the four scores the winning goal that knocks the Union out of the cup.

  6. The Chopper says:

    The last time we saw a decent defensive effort, it was Gaddis Williams Berry Fabhino with Okugo at CDM. Let’s try that again. Play the Kansas City lineup with Pfeffer in for Fernandez. Let Carroll and Edu sit.

  7. I once called Hackworth a “bottom feeding buffoon” than apologized saying it wasn’t something I was proud of. I now need to retract my retraction, the man is a delusional buffoon! He wants to blame the players for his dismal coaching performance? He is responsible for the confusion and poor direction of the team. He can’t even buy a clue with regards to coaching at the pro level. He constantly puts players in position to fail. He has no idea how coach to the skill and strengths of the players on this team. He brings in players who have experience, knowledge and skill at given positions then tries to use them in ways that are completely alien to them. Then he’ll tell us the Union have depth and there’s competition for starting spots. His pretense that the problems with the Union have nothing to do with his poor decision making and lack of a professional soccer IQ is a joke. He has convinced the players that he is misunderstood and put upon by a growing disgruntled fan base while throwing those players under a bus. These players are fighting for jobs and playing minutes and will say and do anything they can to protect there place on the team, even if it means kidding themselves that Hackworth is a real coach. How can you blame them when the organization itself is all smoke and mirrors? The issues with the Union don’t come down to simple missed marking assignments in Sundays game. The problems with the Union are organizational over the course of 5 years and Sakeiwicz turning a blind eye with regards to managers. Some major changes need to be made starting with Hackworth’s dismissal and Sakeiwicz being bought out. It would be nice if there was new ownership with strong knowledgeable soccer ties. For now though Hackworth needs to go, if not during the WC break the definitely after this season.

    • Sakewicz will be quick to remind you that the problems in the first 3 years happened under “different management”. Once Hackworth is gone, all those problems will be blamed on “different management” too. Then he’ll laugh in your face at the thought he could be bought out since he paid for PPL Park with his AmEx card or something.

  8. So, If I’m a season-ticket holder, do I have to *do* anything to get my tickets for the US Open Cup, or do I already have the tickets on my card?

    • John Ling says:

      According to the linked article, the tickets will be loaded onto your card. In addition, if you show your card when you park, you’ll only pay $10 instead of $15.

  9. I’m pulling for HCI against the Union. I fear that any run at all in the US Open Cup might save Hackworth’s job. Plus, HCI’s players may be better and are definitely more exciting than the Union’s.

  10. I’m sorry Hackworth, but I can’t defend you anymore. I’m officially throwing my hat in the “Fire Hackworth” ring. Our back four is in shambles because there’s a different set up every week. They can’t build chemistry. Go look at the seasons we had great defenses and you’ll see, very few changes. They weren’t rotated every game. Continuing to make disillusioned comments like these goes to show Hackworth is either incapable of or unwilling to improve.

    I cant see the Union ever reaching full potentional with him coaching. I think he’d be much better as an assistant.

  11. Southside Johnny says:

    When Williams says everybody is fighting for spots, I have to assume he means in training because it obviously isn’t in the matches. Since when do you pick a frigging lineup based on practice performance in professional sports? Please, Hack. No more pressers. No more interviews. Just shut up and spend that time finding someone who can help you figure out how to do your job.

  12. philpill says:

    If it were just the lack of attack, or just the set piece play (both ends), or just the back line, or just the lack of in game ingenuity, or just the early (& late) breakdowns with back – breaking goals allowed, or just the players out of position or sitting behind an experiment then maybe the record to date wouldn’t point so obviously and completely to the Coach. But how can ALL these be the fault of a few key players each week, or bad luck, or injury or anything really but the one denominator common to them all?

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